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Parenting can be tough enough for a team of two. However, if your spouse passes away, that just leaves you to deal with all the arrangements, take care of your children, and find ways to grieve and continue on. The loss of a spouse affects everyone differently, so your experience will be different from others, even from those who experienced the same type of loss. But having children involved can just heighten the emotions. The loss of a spouse or parent is a tragic event for anyone. Here are some things to keep in mind as you deal with this loss:
Don't Compare Yourself - During this process--and, yes, it is a process--remember that everyone deals with grief and loss differently. You should never compare yourselves to others and how they deal with their losses. Focus on your own progress and the progress of your children.
Let Yourself Grieve - You may feel guilty for some of the feelings you have, but it's important to let yourself grieve the way you need to grieve. If you feel anger, allow yourself that anger. It doesn't help anyone-especially you-if you hold that in. It will manifest itself in one way or another, and it's better to get it out and deal with confusing and painful emotions when you can. It doesn't matter which emotions you're experiencing, just let yourself feel it and then you can better move forward through the grieving process.
Talk about it - You may not be ready yet to talk about it, but one day you will be. You'll eventually find yourself wanting to talk about it, almost as if you can't keep it inside you anymore. For a while, this might be all you talk about with others. And that's OK. These urges you get to talk about it are your mind's and heart's way of helping you come to a better understanding of your situation and your loss.
Find Support - During this difficult time, it's important that you find support for both you and your children. This could mean a listening ear, someone who won't judge you by what you say in times of grief, a support group, or visiting with a counselor or therapist. Everyone needs some type of support, especially after experiencing a loss.
Get Back To Your Routine - Take all the time you need to grieve. But once you feel up to it, it's important that you get back to your daily routine. This will help your children, too, as they need stability. It will be hard to get back to your daily life, but it will become easier as the days pass.
Be Kind to Yourself - The next few weeks, months, and years may be tough for you and your family. Be kind to yourself and your children. Life is harsh enough without additional unkindness. If you have a day that you just want to grieve, even if it's years down the road, let yourself. And don't feel guilty or ashamed of it. Grieving can be a lifelong process.
Remember that all these things are necessary for your children, too. But also remember that children can grieve in different ways. It will help if you go to a counselor or get advice from one. The best thing you can do is to let yourself feel the way you need to feel and afford your children the same courtesy. It's normal. It's healthy. The pain may be deep and severe now, but it will lessen with time and as you make your way through grieving. It may not go away completely, but it will get easier.
I didnít realize that at some point over the past two years I have moved from cheerful optimism in the face of criticism to mumbled apologizing... more
I admit itís a self-serving question since I lost mine yesterday. I had been doing sooo well not getting angry and parenting with pizzazz....more
Self-worth and confidence are essential in a well-adjusted child. Start building your children up by reminding them of their worth and your love for them.
"I just want to let all parents know that I thought adoption would be a horrible thing and that I would never be able to forgive myself for being such a young parent and losing him. I started going to a counselor and she gave me the best advice: "Just think of it as the biggest gift you could ever give him!" After she had told me that, I warmed up to it and came to find out he went to a perfect place for him. He is a single child and the new parents can meet all of his needs. I'm happy for them to be given a wonderful child. I will always love him and hope one day to be reunited with him." -Rachel
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.